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Kalooki Nights (Anglais)


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12 internautes sur 14 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
A Literately Hilarious Book 1 septembre 2007
Par Ronald H. Raybin - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format: Relié Achat vérifié
You're gonna plotz before you find plots here. And if you lack at least a minimal Jewish background,or don't much care a some modern Jews and their wrestlings with identity, lust, love, religion, and whirlagig confusions, then you probably won't laugh, inwardly and outwardly, at the stylistically marvelous feats of humor that Howard Jacobson pulls off in this uniquely entertaining reading experience. I think that the Washington Post reviewer is really off base when he laments that the book is old hat. I've read umpteen Jewish authors over the years, and Kalooki Nights is entirely new hat to me. But the cartoony title! Yikes! Marginally relevant at best. Finally, the book does ramble. But so does my Uncle Bernie, who, nevertheless, is really enthralling to listen to.
14 internautes sur 17 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
Kalooki Nights 7 janvier 2008
Par Robin Friedman - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format: Relié
Kalooki Nights by the English novelist Howard Jacobson tells a story of an English Jewish community in Manchester, England in the years following WW II. The chief protagonist is the narrator, Max Glickman, a cartoonist who has had three wives, two non-Jewish and anti-semitic, and one Jewish, who also endeavors to loosen Judaism's hold on Max. Max's father was an aspiring boxer who became an atheist and tries to give both Max and his other child, his daughter Shani, a secular life. Shani marries a non-Jewish man in what proves to be a successful relationship. Max's mother is an inveterate player of a card game called Kalooki, with a group of other Jewish women.

The book recounts Max's relationship with his childhood friend Manny Washinsky. Unlike Max, Manny was raised in an orthodox household. Manny teaches Max of the horrors of the Holocaust. When Max's older brother becomes romantically involved with a non-Jewish woman and the parents do everything in their power to terminate the relationship, Max ultimately gasses them to death in their bed and spends many years in prision. Years later Max and Manny meet again, when an anti-semitic television producer hires Max to do research on a story about Manny.

In many ways, this book is a cross between "Portnoy's Complaint" and other early books by Philip Roth and "The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay", the story of two American Jewish cartoonists, by Michael Chabon. The book has as some of its themes the tension between secularism and traditional religiosity as options for modern Jews, the Holocaust and its impact on Jewish life and belief, and the relationship between Jews and non-Jews, particularly as the relationships involve sexuality and intimacy.

The book is funny in many places and insightful in some. But it is told in a blustery, wandering, and diffuse style which make it difficult to follow. The language is wordy, profane, and satirical -- probably in an attempt to create some artistic distance between the author and the events which he describes -- but much of the book I found painful. The characters, Jewish and non-Jewish, are full of bigotry for each other and hatred for themselves. Sexual themes play a large role in the book, as the Jewish men are embittered towards Jewish women -- thinking that the women will not become involved in a sexual relationship with them -- and the non-Jewish women are drawn to what they think they perceive of Jewish men. This is a story that has been told before, and it is drummed in unmercifully in this novel.

Some of this story has a context broader than the ambiguous situation that, for the author, many Jewish people find themselves in or create for themselves. The author deals implicitly with the need of people to find spirituality for themselves without the extremes of total secularism on the one hand on routinized fundamenalism or othodoxy on the other hand. But the self-pitying, solipsistic outlook of most of the characters of the book, together with its windy, unorganized character, make this novel a chore to read and largely unsuccessful.

Robin Friedman
14 internautes sur 17 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
and you thought you were obsessed about Jews... 28 juin 2007
Par Raphael Rubin - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format: Relié
Jonathan Safran Foer noted in the NY Times that Kalooki Nights "is a tragedy, and a work of genius". Indeed, it is a masterpiece. I laughed and cried from start to end.
Membership in the tribe (or honorary membership) may be necessary to absorb its full impact. Indeed, if any recent book emerges as a Jewish classic, this will be the one. Jacobson is now in the Pantheon.
7 internautes sur 10 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
Rambling 3 août 2007
Par madcarrot - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format: Relié
I could not finish this book. It is well written and in parts laugh-out-loud funny but the plot was too rambling for me. As the previous reviewer said, membership in the tribe may contribute to one's enjoyment - as a non-tribe member, much of the book was lost on me. I debated as to whether or not I should keep reading, but finally decided to give up. I have a feeling that had the subject matter been anything else, I'd have liked this book as I enjoyed his use of words. But that's like saying I'd like chocolate ice cream if it wasn't chocolate.
2 internautes sur 3 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
This Book Grew on Me 13 avril 2010
Par Richard L. Goldfarb - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format: Broché
A bit of personal history: my grandmother played kalooki, a card game that the protagonist's mother played religiously. I always thought it was from the French "Quelque" and never had a clue it was spelled like this. I picked up this novel because I've enjoyed Jacobson's work, particularly Coming from Behind and Redback, and I hadn't read his fiction in awhile. I had no idea I was going to find out about my grandmother's card game.

It took me awhile to warm up to this novel. Others have compared it to Roth and Chabon, but the immediate and obvious comparison to me was to one of my favorite novels ever, Mordecai Richler's Joshua Then and Now (simplified into a little-seen film with a young James Woods and a not so young Alan Arkin and a very old Alexander Knox). In both novels, the father is a boxer with little connection to Judaism and the son takes his Jewish roots much more seriously notwithstanding marrying Gentiles. Each has a substitute for a bar mitzvah that highlights the sexual difficulties of adolescent boys around older women, a topic rarely discussed elsewhere. Here, it is the father with the greater connection to socialism, rather than the son in the Richler novel, but the parallels were so clear at the beginning that it took me awhile to unmoor Jacobson's vision from Richler's.

Happily, the novel is long enough and complex enough that it left the progenitor behind. As the focus of the book shifts away from the narrator, Max Glickman, and more to his childhood friends, Manny, who murdered his parents, and Errol, who left the group he led in adolescent sexual games to lead a seemingly conventional life, it starts to make you care about these Manchester Jews. As the plot unpeels like an onion, and the interrelationship of the characters, including Manny's brother, a highly regarded Yeshiva student who falls in love with the daughter of the woman who laid the fires on the Sabbath in his parents' house, Max's ne'er do well uncle and his secret love, and Max's own three umlaut-laden wives, becomes clear, the novel demonstrates a depth and a purpose that is both subtle and masterly.

There is straightforward Jewish humor, but there is also pathos and a deep understanding of the imperfections of the human condition. No one in this novel is all good or all bad; everyone is worth caring about to a degree. The obsession of the generation whose guilt over having been safe away from the Nazis (also a theme of the Richler novel) towards all things German is explained beautifully here, not just exploited.
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